Fissuring and Fragmenting – New World (DIS)Order
Peter Zeihan’s sharp-sighted new book, ‘Disunited Nations’, canvases our convulsing international system in all its conniption fits, fissures and freak-outs. The global jungle is indeed rough-and-tumble. Richard Haas: eat your heart out, sucker! This is the best read of the quarantine! Five Stars!
Our favorite doyen of international affairs, Peter Zeihan (below), offers a zanny, nervy and fascinating forecast of our fucked and fragmenting world (dis)order. Entropy will accelerate, China will disintegrate (duh!), America will consolidate (obvz!) and the rest of the world will hustle for crumbs.
Peter Zeihan (ex-Stratfor analyst and now indie strategist based in Denver) just dropped his newest book. And it’s juicy! He takes us on a zippy and erudite tour de force through the recent past and present, fusing demography, finance, energy, tech, security and culture to help us prepare (and hedge) for a wobbly future.
Themes and chapters include ‘How to Rule the World’ from the US-Anglo angle, Russia as a ‘Failed Superpower’, China as habitually dependent on US hegemony, ‘Profits Without Borders,’ ‘The Dawning of the Fourth Age,’ ‘How to Be a Successful Country,’ and more. In this liminal, transitional moment of history, our hypertrophic Yankee-led global order is primed to break apart. In fact, the process is well underway and recent events have thrown an eight ball of crank into the mix. When the smoke clears, a few big dogs will survive and thrive — definitely America with its Naval prowess/resource endowment/chummy alliance network — while the unendowed will go down.
There’s a lot to say about ‘Disunited Nations.’ For instance, it is super-well written, witty AF, data-drenched, cartographically compelling and really engrossing. It is also WAY BETTER than Richard Haas’ new ‘critically-acclaimed’ jam, ‘The World’, another blandstand book hyping the usual ‘global governance/interconnectedness/post-American’ happy talk reverberating through the echo-chambers of the CFR, Fareed Zakaria’s GPS and the Kennedy School.
The tone and tempo of ‘Disunited Nations’ is rogue and sassy with a worldy nous and perspicacious edge. Always prescient, Peter lifts the lid on the icky, conflictual world (dis)order that has evolved since the days of the Cold War, providing a seriously savvy panorama of political geography/history and the erosion of certain (inert) institutions and transnational players.
The CCP Virus, a.k.a. the Death Star implosion that utterly obliterated the normal doings of daily life in less than sixty days, leaving everybody in a short, nasty, brutish, Hobbesian, epidemiological pickle, has expedited certain structural changes in the system to the detriment of fragile states like Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China.
Despite conventional wisdom, we should all brace for the turbulent implosion of commie China — a paper tiger, perennial misfit and Potemkin basket case. We should also expect more ructions (probably kinetic) in US-China relations. “The Sino-American relationship was always going to collapse, and the United States and China were always going to fall into acrimony…China will suffer a cataclysmic flameout every bit as impressive as its rise to power…The ‘Chinese Dream‘ is ephemeral.”
China’s breakdown is inevitable. Ditto North Korea, Russia, Venezuela and Brazil. Paradigm shifts are afoot, but America will outperform by virtue of its unrivaled military monopoly (Oorah → Naval power!), self-sufficiency, super-productivity, insulated geography and culturally enlightened worldview. Turkey, Japan, France, Canada, Mexico and Argentina will fare well as limited regional players. The dregs of the world (think Saudi Arabia and the squabbling desperados clustered around the Strait of Hormuz) will bottom-fish, vie for scraps and cannibalize themselves and each other.
Spooky as it’s been, the Chinese Wuhan Coronavirus has also been a great accelerant for the natural collapse of a severally unbalanced, economically skewed, and dishonestly represented set of arrangements that are now unspooling at warp speed. China is spazzing out over its contagion cover-up, Ponzi economy and loss of face; America will no longer splurge endlessly on everyone for the sake of the system that undercuts its interests; and many regional/marginal players will get swept into the dustbin of history.
Peter slings a counterintuitive polemic but one that is spot-on. Seventy-five years of American benevolence programmed mankind to expect limitless goodies forever on an upward-swinging arc of techno miracles and Neoliberalism. The post-WWII global architecture (‘The Order’) in which Uncle Sam guaranteed the security of everyone, kept sea lanes open, and fostered trade from the Third World worked tremendously well for the greater good.
Unfortunately, China exploited that to the tune of trillions and took advantage of the system. Now that the sinister China hustle has been exposed for everyone to see, economies have cracked, interdependence has crumbled and the hallucination that all the rackets of postmodernity can keep going on America’s dime is over. As the lone, now very ‘woke’ superpower skidaddles to cozier quarters, globalism is winding down and entropy is bubbling up. “And the wheels of history are grinding up the upstarts.”
The great 2020 pandemic, induced by a mighty hubristic China, ignited multiple dynamic feedback loops leading to a regional and local reorganization of political-economic affairs. This reversion to the mean was already in motion. Geopolitical upheaval can get moving pretty damn quickly, without a whole lot of warning. Peter Zeihan provides ample warning and strategic wisdom that we can all learn and profit from amidst a global power scramble.
As our world de-complexifies, re-localizes, downscales, decouples and re-humanizes, this read is a shot of adrenaline into the clichéd strategic studies literature/groupthink — a stiletto to the heart of the naive globalist establishment. Peter Zeihan’s book is a refreshingly realist perspective in a volatile clusterfuck moment. Bravo! Get smart and buy the book here.
‘Disunited Nations – The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World’
by Peter Zeihan
Harper Collins Publisher, 2020
This post was authored by VIVISXN’s proprietary AI Thought Bot®
Photography Happy AF Death Squad + Peter Zeihan + ZEIHAN on Geopolitics
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